Ask Lorraine – Letting Agent is asking for lots of information

ASK Lorraine

I was talking this weekend to a couple, I will call them Sandra & Jim. Apparently this couple were looking to move to Tamworth and had decided to try and rent through another private landlord, “Agents ask too many questions and charge too much in fees”.

So here is a little story………Parts of it are true other parts embelished to show that there are laws to renting out property!

Sandra went on to inform me that when they moved into their current property 3 months ago, they paid no fees to their kindly landlord and only 1 months rent as a deposit. The discounted council tax was paid in cash to the landlord. He ensured it was paid to the council, after all it was one less thing to have to think about, right!

What a shame that this kindly person is actually a rogue Landlord.

The landlord asked no questions and made no fuss! What he should have done was ask the right questions, carried out the Right to Rent checks as specified in the Immigration Act 2016.

So this rogue landlord had allowed the couple to rent a property. In actual fact if he had undertaken the correct checks, he would have found out the couple were not British citizens, nor citizens of a country in the EU or EEA, nor citizens of a country with no time limits on permission to live in the UK. Sandra and Jim should not have been allowed to rent a property.

The landlord did not provide his new tenants with the How to Rent booklet, annual gas safety inspection certificate, an energy performance certificate and a smoke alarm.

Sandra had found the new house very cold as the boiler was “waiting for a new part”. So the kindly landlord had given them an old coal fire and a big bag of coal as a temporary measure.

At least they would be warm in the living room with the coal fire blazing away and as the coal was cheap enough, they could easily leave the fire burning all night. It had been so nice of the landlord to offer this coal fire and weren’t they lucky they had a chimney place suitable for the coal fire.

They did not know that the landlord should have provided a carbon monoxide alarm.  (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). 

The Landlord asked for cash each week for the couple’s rent he never offered receipts or even a rent book. Sandra and Jim were unaware of their rights. The Landlord was either unaware or unwilling to comply with the 1988 Housing Act that if rent is paid weekly a rent book must be provided.

Sandra had set up a little nail business in the spare bedroom and was doing very well, she was hoping the business would be equally successsful in Tamworth.

The landlord was not happy when the elderly lady next door started complaining about lots of visitors coming at all hours of the day and night. The garden gate was often left to bang shut and this caused a nuisance to the elderly neighbour.

The landlord decided that he was going to evict using a Section 21 – but the tenancy must run at least 4 months before a notice could be served. What he has not realised, at the expiry of the notice, he will be expected to take them to Court, where his case would be thrown out because he did not serve the How to Rent booklet, or the Energy Performance Certificate, or the Gas Safety Certificate, nor did he protect the deposit. Had Jim and Sandra known more about the law and been in the property legally, they would have realized they could have visited the Citizens Advice Bureau and taken the landlord to Court for three times the deposit amount.

Legislation has a purpose; it seeks to provide a good standard of accommodation for all, to ensure that rent is paid for properties fit for purpose. Sandra and Jim may have had a low expectation of rental properties and did not know their rights however as Asylum Seekers, they needed to seek the assistance of the Home Office, not a landlord who risks a hefty fine or even a prison sentence. The landlord would also have HMRC chasing him for not declaring his rental income.

Hall & Thompson Tamworth  –  Estate/Property Lettings Agents.

From tenant find only, right through to a fully managed service, Hall & Thompson offer a personal property experience. We can be involved in letting a property and can take away the trials and tribulations that landlords often encounter when dealing with this themselves.

Residential lettings can provide attractive returns on investment and we can advise.

Our wide range of lettings services can help you to achieve your letting property investment goals, at a fraction of the cost of most high street letting agencies.

Call or message me today to have a natter. lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

or call 01827 425195

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How to be a strict but fair Tamworth landlord

So you want to be a Landlord who is revered by your tenants but are not seen as a pushover, do you?

There are a  few tips that I would recommend to hopefully give you an easier life as a landlord.

landlords tips
landlords tips

 

 

 

 

 

Communicating with tenants:

  • Set out ground rules and stick to them, not letting tenants call  you at 11pm – to ask a stupid question.
  • Writing is better than phoning but remember to keep copies.
  • Try and accommodate the tenants wishes to make contact   – messenger, email, text or even Facebook.
  • Why not syke them instead of giving out your phone number.
  • Ensure your AST covers all bases concerning communicating.

Late rental payments: 

  • Help tenants set up a standing order or use direct debit – they can’t forget to make payment.
  • Diarise rent date and make contact on the same day if it’s not forthcoming.
  • Set up a process and stick to it  e.g. text day 1 and 2, call day 3 and 4 and final warning day 5 or 6.
  • Do not be a soft touch and fall for those tales of woe.

Emergencies:

  • What is an emergency, your definition is probably not the same as your tenants – So define “emergency” for your tenants.
  • Instruct tenants about what to do in an emergency. Do they really need to call you!
  • Consider landlord emergency cover.

Dealing with routine maintenance:

  • Have a good all round base of trade contacts ensuring they are paid on time and treated fairly.
  • Can the tenant sort out the issue easily themselves without calling you out – e.g. unblock the sink or clean the washing machine filter.
  • Explain clearly the difference between condensation and damp, let the tenant know their responsibilities to both.
  • Carry out regular internal and external  inspections and look for early signs of repairs, often cheaper than letting things go.

Inspection visits:

  • Test smoke/carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Look for any signs of condensation.
  • Visually inspect electrics.
  • Looks for signs of sub letting.
  • Look for early signs of repairs that may be required.

Conclusion:

  • Be proactive  and not reactive.
  • Work smart and not hard.

“People who work hard and people who work smart have different measures of success.” Jacob Morgan

work smart not hard
work smart not hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

Hall and Thompson Estate Agents Tamworth Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyF9OUR3g6E8HywCx7tU4DA

Follow The Buy-To-Let Property Investment Market in Tamworth   https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

Lorraine’s Tamworth Property Market LinkedIn Page https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorrainethompson2/

Hall and Thompson Estate Agents Tamworth Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Hallandthompsonestateagents/

Tamworth Hall and Thompson Estate Agents Twitter Page    https://twitter.com/hallandthompson

Ask Lorraine – What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?

🙋  Landlord’s Question: 

“Dear Lorraine,

I have just bought my first buy to let property in Tamworth, it’s  a two bed semi detached in Amington.  I’ve find out what type of tenants I can attract to the property and also what rent I can hope to achieve.

I’m still rather perplexed with all the legislation over renting and what documents I need inorder to rent my property out.

What documents and checks do I need to do before I can move my  tenants in?

Angel’’

What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?
What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraines Answer

Congratulations, you’ve taken the first step of becoming a landlord, however with it comes lots of legal hoops to jump through to ensure the property you are renting is safe for your tenants to live in.

You will find some  are some legally required while others at present, are recommended as best practice.

Gas Safety Certificate

As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to instruct a Gas Safety registered engineer to carry out the checks and provide the certification. You need to give this certificate to the tenant when they move in. You also need to make sure that  the gas  safety check is carried out annually with a copy being given to the tenant.

Legionella Risk Assessment

Landlords are responsible for keeping properties safe and free from health hazards, including from the risk of  legionella.

Legionellosis which is found in water  is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria. This includes the most serious legionnaires’ disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.

As a landlord, your responsibility is to have a competent person carry out a risk assessment to assess the risk of exposure to Legionella. Many landlords choose to carry out the assessment  themselves, however the buck then stops at their doorstep. If you decide to carry out the risk assessment yourself please ensure you know what you are doing. For the sake of approx. £50 It may be safer to use a contractor to carry this out.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

The energy performance certificate is required if you sell or rent a property. You should have one from the purchase of your recent buy to let property.

The certificate is to check the energy efficiency of your property. They last for ten years and grade your property on their efficiency.

Regulations came into force as of  1st April 2016, whereby tenants can request consent from their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements to their properties. The request should have no cost implications to the landlord, unless of course, the landlord agrees to pay towards the works.

From April 2018, your property will need to have a minimum rating of E, which means a lot of older and poorly insulated properties may struggle to achieve the  E or above rating.

Electrical Certificates or PAT Tests

Electrical Certificates are  currently best practice, however it is legally required that any electrical installation is safe and in full working order at the beginning and during the  length of the tenancy.

Recommendations suggest having a professional carry out the electrical certificate every five years.

In single let residential property, there is no current  legal requirement  to carry out a PAT test. If you do supply portable appliances and don’t have a PAT test carried out, you should carry out visual inspections to ensure there are no cracks or burn marks to sockets and the wiring is not damaged.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

A smoke alarm is required on each floor level, they must be checked to ensure they are in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy.

Carbon Monoxide (CO2) alarms are only legally required where there is a solid fuel burning appliance . As gas is not a solid fuel, there is no legal requirement. Best practice would be to install a CO2 alarm within close proximity to a gas boiler, manufacturers instructions will advise.

So a lot to think about and sort before renting out your Tamworth property.

Good luck Angel and enjoy your property journey.

Until Next Week.

If you are looking for an agent with experience that can help you prepare your property and find the best tenants for it, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

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